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27 May 2017 @ 01:11 pm
It's Canada's 150's birthday this year and CBC has been airing a series called "The Story of Us" on Sunday nights, which recounts the history of Canada from when the first settlers arrived up until modern times, taking interesting stories from various eras of history. Obviously, there's a lot left out, but it includes an incredible amount of stuff I had no idea about. It's done through reenacting scenes narrated over by various Canadian celebs, professors, writers, soldiers, and other people of note. Including a very silver-haired Paul Gross, who has aged very well.

I doubt it's available outside of Canada, but the on the off-chance you can watch it or live in Canada haven't seen it, the website is here. It finished a couple of weeks ago but Mum and I just finished last night due to practically all the television we watch in a week airing on Sunday night at the same time. We have DVR full of stuff to catch up on.

Some stuff I learned that I didn't know:
-- on at least three occasions, Canadians have won important battles by pretending there were more soldiers there than there were. These incidents are unrelated and spread out over hundreds of years; it's like it's just built into our DNA to go 'well, there's only three of us, but if we run around and make a lot of noise, we might be able to make them think there's more of us and they might surrender and we won't have to fight them'. And it worked on all three occasions. Including Vimy Ridge in WWI, where one soldier captured 96 Germans in a bunker by calling up to his few men above as though there were a platoon of them and ferrying them out in small, manageable groups once they'd been disarmed, so the few above weren't overwhelmed.
-- the most decorated sniper of WWI from Canada was a First Nations man named, Francis Pegahmagabow who was a total badass.
-- There was a black woman in 1940's Nova Scotia named Viola Desmond, who went to the cinema in different town and didn't know it was segregated there. She intended to buy a main floor ticket, but was given a mezzanine ticket since that was where you had to sit if you were black. She didn't know she had been given the different ticket and went to sit on the main floor, only to be euphemistically told she had the wrong ticket and to go upstairs, so she went back to correct the 'mistake' and exchange her ticket, only to be told she couldn't. She decided to sit on the main floor anyway and was arrested, put in jail overnight and charged a $26 fine for 'tax evasion' because the main floor ticket cost one cent more than the mezzanine ticket and she hadn't bought a main floor ticket. That's almost a $370 fine in today's money. Despite her challenging it, it was thrown out on a technically of the claim being filed after the 10 days time limit. She was officially pardoned in 2010, and is going to be the first Canadian woman to appear on a bank note in 2018.

Anyway, if you can find a way to watch the series, I highly recommend it. It's really fascinating and well done.

All the way through it I kept going "I bet my vampire lived through that".

This entry was crossposted on Dreamwidth (http://awanderingbard.dreamwidth.org/294158.html). Replies are welcome in any location.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on May 27th, 2017 06:38 pm (UTC)
Ooh that sounds interesting. I'll have to try to track it down as it's region locked to Canada on that site. I love learning history bits I didn't know earlier.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on May 27th, 2017 09:59 pm (UTC)
I kept saying to my mom 'I didn't know that, why didn't they teach us about that, why haven't they made a movie about that?!' It's really sad that history isn't presented in a more interesting fashion in school.

And I don't understand region locking at all. Well, I do, in theory, if you're going to be airing in a different country and need the sponsors' money. But, I would very happily pay for a British TV license if they let me stream content from the BBC website. There should be an option for 'if you let me watch this, I will pay for it even though I don't live in the country of origin'. Or, like, pay extra for my Netflix per month if I could access the American and UK libraries. Like how Ancestry offers a 'just Canadian records' option and an 'all the records option' and an 'all the records plus other stuff' option. I feel like distributors need to catch up with the times. /totally random rant
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on May 27th, 2017 10:07 pm (UTC)
No, I am totally with you on the rant (and on the 'why don't they teach us stuff like that?'). It would be so awesome if I could have my regular US netflix subscription and for, I don't know, $5 extra a month (about half the cost of a monthly subscription I think) I could get access to other countries' content. I mean, I understand there's licencing fees and whatnot, but still... sigh.

I do like that Ancestry has the US/Canada/your country version and then a more inclusive 'lost of countries' version. It's helped me find a lot of stuff in Canada, Sweden and other random Europe places. Sometimes access to the larger catalog of records doesn't help at all, but it's nice to at least be able to search it. Do you have both as well or just the Canada version?
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on May 27th, 2017 10:23 pm (UTC)
I only had an Ancestry subscription for a couple of months, after a free weekend sucked me in, but I was on the World version at the time I think, since I needed access to the States. I started hitting too many walls to make it worth the money to keep the subscription going. There's three mysteries that have yet to be solved and when they offer free weekends for an area of interest (we just had access to the UK for Victoria Day, for example), I take another look to see if anything's come up. But nothing yet. Once the next census is available, I think I'll be able to figure out at least two of the gaps, but that won't be for a while yet. The Canadian census only goes up to 1921, and the policy is to wait 92 years after it was taken before it's publicly available. 2023 is probably when I'll be able to find out what I'd like to know.

I want to know how my Great-Grandmother got from Scotland to Canada, since she just pops up on a census with no travel records of her, despite the entire rest of the family appearing. And there's a child who's one or two on the 1921 census that no one in my family heard of before, but I can't trace her without access to the 1931 census. And one of my grandmother's siblings was a cousin adopted after her parents died, I can't find out who the cousin's father was, what happened to her brother, or any information about how the parents died. I'm hoping the 1931 census will allow me to find the family before the parents were killed.

The other benefit of a subscription is that you can look at other people's trees, so there's that incentive. And I hate that even if you saved records while you were subscribed, you can't look at them once you're not anymore.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on May 27th, 2017 10:30 pm (UTC)
If you like I can try to research all that for you. (If you're comfortable sharing the information, of course) I've done once-off searching for a few friends where they gave me the data they had for one or two relatives and I delved into the records to see what I could find. I've also had another friend add me to the tree they had on Ancestry as an editor with the plea to help and add whatever I could find. I'm not entirely sure what Canada records I have access to with the US world version, but I'd be more than happy to try to look stuff up for you.

I know the pain of waiting for censuses and various records to age to the point they can be released. I am so impatient! I want the info now! :)
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on May 28th, 2017 03:30 pm (UTC)
It's been about a year since I last had a good look around, so I might get another month and see what's new. I like the process of delving around, so I'll hack away at the mysteries, but if I need resources I don't have, I'll definitely let you know. Thanks for the offer!

I know the pain of waiting for censuses and various records to age to the point they can be released. I am so impatient! I want the info now! :)

That's one of the things I really enjoy about doing the transcribing for Family Search, I like thinking my work is going to help someone who's been waiting forever to find out the information I just wrote down. Not to mention all the historical snooping you get to do. :-D
shadowfireflameshadowfireflame on May 28th, 2017 01:13 am (UTC)
Thank you for the recommendation! Canada is full of wonderful stories.
aelfgyfu_mead: Due Southaelfgyfu_mead on May 28th, 2017 07:49 pm (UTC)
The silver hair looks good on Paul Gross, but I had to go Googling for recent pics. I was a bit startled—he still had dark hair last time I saw him!

I know sadly little about Canadian history despite growing up not far from the border, but I can't forget the year of independence—we used to travel through Canada annually, and we always ate at a restaurant called 1867.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on May 28th, 2017 10:10 pm (UTC)
I think it's just within the last year or so he's gone au natural with hair, but it's very striking!

I know sadly little about Canadian history despite growing up not far from the border, but I can't forget the year of independence—we used to travel through Canada annually, and we always ate at a restaurant called 1867.

Year of Confederation. We didn't really get independence. We kind of went, 'hey, Queen Victoria, is it cool if we become a country?" and she said 'yeah, go for it!' and so we did. Well, Upper and Lower Canada did. The rest of Canada didn't decide to join us until later. Newfoundland wouldn't come until 1949, even then they weren't really sure about it.

Canadian history has some very cool moments, but I don't think it gets as much attention since we don't have the same big film industry as other countries to do big movies about it, which is how a lot of history gets passed down these days. I can't even think of any good Canadian history films to check out. Paul Gross did an epic WWI film a little while ago, but I didn't find it very enjoyable. The story was really disjointed and the characters weren't likable. That's the only 'big' film I think of. There have been a few good tv movies and mini-series, but that's it. Mum just read a book called Barkskins by Annie Proulx which follows two families from the settling of Canada into modern times and really enjoyed it, but I haven't read it yet.

The biggest thing I find annoying is how often Canada gets left out of discussion during the world wars. I know we were fighting as part of the British empire, but Canadians captured Vimy Ridge, and Canadians had Juno beach on D-Day and Canadians liberated the Netherlands during WWII, and you'd think we weren't there at all.

Edited at 2017-05-28 10:11 pm (UTC)
aelfgyfu_mead: helmetaelfgyfu_mead on May 28th, 2017 10:24 pm (UTC)
Ah—thanks for the clarification about Confederation! I've misunderstood it all these years!

If it's any consolation, my Dad was a big WWII aficionado, and I knew a bit about the Canadian role on D-Day and after; the Allies would have had a much harder time without y'all!